Monthly Archives: March 2016

My experience with technology

Last week I bought my first tablet and at first I was quite concerned “Oh no, that’s a lot of money. If I buy this now, I will have to live on the streets for the rest of my life!” (I have a flare for the dramatic). Thankfully, I bought it and absolutely love it. I was amazed with it’s efficiency and ease to use. Researching is simple, all notes I take are easily retrieved, and all of my paintings can be saved so that I can return to them later. Additionally, I was amazed to find out how many apps are available to teachers, ranging from apps to record grades, to tips for teaching maths skills. Here are some Literacy Apps, many I have found very useful. I hope you will too, enjoy!

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On the road to becoming a teacher

Sometimes when I look forward to my future of being a teacher, I feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders. “How will I stop anyone from falling through the cracks, What if the students think that I am boring, How will I keep on top of everything, What if the parents have birthed the spawn of Satan?” Thankfully, I am not the only one who has had these sorts of thoughts and there are people out there who are willing to provide these expert advice. One of these such people is Melinda who has posted an advice article, 100 Things I’ve Learned About Being a Teacher. Thankfully, the one piece of advice that I keep having to come back to when I start getting overwhelmed is number 38. “Believe in yourself, if you want to improve…you can”.

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Using ICT to support literacy learning

I have recently been researching reasons for implementing ICT into literacy lessons, and have come to discover how interconnected the two really can be. I now understand that in order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the meaning making process, students make experience interactions on both a physical and cognitive plane. Through constantly shifting between modes and texts, students are able to build layers of meaning connecting their reading and writing processes. However, throughout my study one overwhelming concept kept coming up: it is the quality of the experience rather thean the time spent using ICT that improved literacy learning. This means that even if technology is incorporated into a lesson, if it is only used to replace traditional print methods, the knowledge the students gain form that lesson will not be enhanced or reinforced. To see what insights other students gained from this assignment, visit Maddy’s blog.

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Negative beliefs about ICT

While studying the use of ICT in literacy learning for one of my other classes, I was very interested to note some of the main reasons why teacher don’t use technology in their classes. As identified by Eileen Honan in Barriers to teachers using digital texts in literacy classrooms, many teachers are unaware of their students prior knowledge and experience with a range of digital technologies outside of the classroom. In addition, the teachers were unable to see the value of these skills within a classroom context. As a result of these beliefs, teachers often make the mistake of focusing their teaching on the operational skills needed to use the technology rather than authentic literacy learning from which the students make meaning.

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Assignment 1 Lesson Plan

Assignment 1 for EDC3100 requires us to select a lesson plan and critique it according to its use of ICT. We also have to place aspects of the lesson on a grid with reference to the RAT and SLIC model. The lesson plan which I have used for the AES checklist can be found at Lesson plan. READING GROUPS. This is a lesson plan which I created for a year 4 reading groups/ English lesson in 2015. I selected a lesson plan of my own rather than one created by another teacher to avoid copyright issues. I had to edit the plan to include a larger ICT content to suit the requirements of the assignment. To see the lesson plans that other students in this class used for their assignments, visit Maddy’s blog or Tahnee’s year 2 English and Technology lesson.

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Using the RAT model

To ensure students are engaging in experiences deeper than ‘horseless carriage’ instruction as I discussed in my last post, these learning experiences should be evaluated using the RAT model. This model stands for Replacement, Amplification and Transformation, and is designed as a tool to self-assess the use of ICT and pedagogy within an instructional practice.  The ‘horseless carriage’ approach, where although the technology used serves a different means, it is still within the same practice, is an example of Replacement. For a practice to be classified as Amplification, it must increase the effectiveness and productivity of the same instructional practice. Finally, Transformation is achieved if the technologies used invent new learning, instruction or curricula.

As Tahnee states, this model will be very effective and useful, not only within our university experience, but also leading into our professional careers.

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ICT pedagogy as ‘horseless carriages’

As quipped by theorist John Dewey “If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob children of tomorrow.”
This quote perfectly encapsulates much of the pedagogy and instructional practices within modern classrooms.

blended_cartoonAs shown in this comic strip, although new technology and resources have been introduced, these resources have not been appropriately used to amplify or transform the learning experience. Instead they have just been used to replace the previous method within the same instructional practice. Therefore, many of these practices can be linked to the concept of a ‘horseless carriage’ where even though the carriage has been altered to include an engine, the efficiency and productivity of the carriage have not been improved.

You can find this cartoon and many more like it at https://larrycuban.wordpress.com/2013/01/23/students-and-teachers-again-cartoons/

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Copyright on my blog

Recently, lectures and course readings have been discussing copyright. As Jay discusses (Copyright guide for Students), copyright laws infringe upon what we can use, how much we can use and what avenues we must take in order to legally display another person’s property on the internet.

This made me wonder if all of the content on my blog fit this criteria. Up to date, I haven’t posted any images, videos or graphics directly to my blog but rather, I have connected people to this type of content through links therefore, not breaking any copyright laws. However, the header of my blog was an image that did not belong to me and which I did not have permission to publish. Discovering this infringement, I have created a painting of my own which is my new header, meaning that my blog is now copyright infringement free.

header

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Justification for the use of ICT in schools

In 2008, MCEETYA released the Melbourne Declaration, an Australian education document identifying ‘Educational Goals for Young Australians’. Within this document, the use of ICT is advised as an integral tool to achieve the educational goals of equity and excellence, supporting all students to become successful learners, confident and creative individuals, and active and informed citizens. The declaration states that Australian students must be:

creative and productive users of technology, especially ICT, as a foundation for success in all learning areas (MCEETYA, 2008).

Supporting the inclusion of ICT capabilities in the Australian Curriculum, the Melbourne Declaration suggests that using ICT assist students in their development of thinking deeply and logically, and obtaining and evaluating evidence. ICT also supports creativity, innovation and resourcefulness, assisting students in problem solving. Finally, The Melbourne Declaration supports ICT as a way to promote and assist continued success in students lives following school, as a member of a family, the workforce and the wider community.

 

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Disadvantages of technology in classrooms

Up until now, my main focus on ICT in schools has been on the positive impacts. However, as with any source of learning, if not used appropriately, technology may become a hindrance. These negative effects have been described by Julia Klaus in her article,  Negative Effects of Using Technology in Today’s Classroom

In this article, Julia focuses on the negative effects of technology arising from the issues of taking away valuable learning time, overuse and the implications of a ‘game mentality’.

It is inevitable that within any class, students will be at varying levels of technological skill and experience. Therefore, it is important to educate students in ICT however this must be conducted at a pace which meets the needs of every student or time will be wasted. Additionally, many students learn best through other means such as physically interacting with what they are studying or through hands-on real life experiences. Consequently, it is important not to overuse digital technologies, using them as a supplementary tool rather than the primary source of learning. Finally, for many students, their primary use of computers is for games. As a result, these students may become quickly distracted or off task when required to use a computer for another purpose.
As outlined by Julia, when used appropriately ICT can be a valuable tool for the learning environment, however, the teacher must provide careful implementation to ensure that no students are done a disservice.

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